SAN DIEGO (Jan. 23, 2017) Vice Adm. Tom Rowden, commander, Naval Surface Force, speaks to Sailor of the Year (SOY) finalists from around the Pacific at a breakfast with event sponsors at the San Diego Zoo, Jan. 23. The week of events recognizes each of the finalists for their contributions to their commands while evaluating their military bearing, professional performance and leadership skills as they compete to be selected as SOY. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Phil Ladouceur/Released)
SURFPAC Welcomes 2016 SOY Finalists

Naval Surface Force, U.S. Pacific Fleet (SURFPAC) welcomed eight Sailors and their spouses for the annual Sea and Shore Sailor of the Year (SOY) Week in San Diego, Jan. 22-27.

Each year, SURFPAC recognizes Sailor of the Year Finalists who best represent the large number of superior and dedicated professionals assigned to SURFPAC sea and shore commands. The week of events honors each finalist for their contributions while evaluating their military bearing, professional performance and leadership skills.

"It really is an honor for Vice Adm. Rowden and the SURFPAC team to host the Sailor of the Year finalists here in San Diego,” said Force Master Chief Jason Wallis. “When you look at these finalists you see the epitome of professionalism, the board members responsible for selecting one Sea and one Shore candidate to go on to the next level are not going to have an easy time."

The Sailors will participate in board interviews, command events and community outreach activities including visits to the USS Midway Museum and the San Diego Zoo. They will also attend a variety of personal and professional development sessions at SURFPAC headquarters.

The week will conclude with a banquet at the Admiral Kidd Catering and Conference Center, Jan. 27, where the sea and shore Sailors of the Year will be announced, as well as recognizing all those nominated as Senior Sailors of the Year from SURFPAC commands.

The 2016 sea finalists are: Electronics Technician 1st Class Fidencio Castellanos, Littoral Combat Ship Crew 111; Logistics Specialist 1st Class Kristie Pierre, USS Dewey (DDG 105); Interior Communications Electrician 1st Class Brent Schermerhorn, USS Preble (DDG 88); Personnel Specialist 1st Class Jery Vasquez, USS Sentry (MCM 3).

The 2016 shore finalists are: Interior Communications Electrician 1st Class Don Aukshun, Mine Countermeasure Squadron Three; Master-at-Arms 1st Class Anthony Puleo, Afloat Training Group Middle Pacific; Aviation Structural Mechanic 1st Class Jason Robinson, Assault Craft Unit Five; and Personnel Specialist 1st Class Jeff Salguero, Naval Surface Force, U.S. Pacific Fleet.

The Sailor of the Year program was established in 1972 by Chief of Naval Operations, Admiral Elmo Zumwalt and Master Chief Petty Officer of the Navy John Whittet, to recognize an individual who best represented each command and ultimately the entire Navy.

For more news from Commander, Naval Surface Force, U.S. Pacific Fleet, visit or follow the Surface Force at; and on Twitter @surfacewarriors

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